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Transport for Wales

New Transport for Wales trains being built

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Work is continuing on the construction of Transport for Wales’ new trains for the Wales and Borders rail network and the South Wales Metro despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

TfW is investing £800 million into new trains and tram-trains to totally transform the customer experience throughout their Wales and Borders network.  Work has been progressing with industry partners CAF and Stadler to design and build the new trains that will operate on 95% of their rail services.

Significant progress has been made on the Class 398 tram-trains and work has begun on the Class 231 trains. Both are being built by Stadler for the South Wales Metro. 

Alongside these, the Class 197 Civity trains being built for use on other Wales and Borders routes are currently being assembled at CAF’s factory in Llanwern.

Cab of a Class 398 tram-train under construction (Image: Transport for Wales)

James Price, Transport for Wales CEO, said: ““It’s great to see progress on our brand-new trains.  I’m delighted our partners at CAF and Stadler have been able to progress with assembly despite the challenging situation we find ourselves in.

Class 398 train under construction (Image: Transport for Wales)

“COVID-19 will continue to present challenges but we’ve been able to move forward and this month and we’ve now seen huge progress on our trains, at our Taff’s Well Depot as well as successful delivery of track transformation work on the Aberdare line.

“TfW is continuing to deliver on our transformational plans and these faster, more efficient trains are fundamental to improving journey times, service frequency and our sustainability goals.”

Class 769 train at Cardiff Queen Street (Image: Transport for Wales)

TfW is also in the process of carrying out testing of the Class 769 trains on the Cardiff to Rhymney line.  The larger trains, providing more seats and better accessibility will be introduced in all-day service in December.

Frank Renault, TfW Transformation Programme Director: “The manufacturing of our new fleets and testing of the Class 769 trains are big steps forward on our transformation journey, in difficult times. 

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“I’d like to thank our dedicated project managers and engineering colleagues for their tireless efforts in delivering this project and our delivery partners, for their professionalism and resolve in continuing this progress and most importantly our passengers for their understanding and support.”

Class 197 train under construction (Image: Transport for Wales)

Sandro Muster, Stadler project manager, commented: “With the production of car bodies for the 35 FLIRTs now well underway, next week will mark the beginning of another highly significant stage in the manufacturing process, known as final assembly. This is when the main components that make up the train are fitted, including the bogies, equipment cases, piping, wiring, flooring, windows, seats and other internal fixtures. This point, when trains really start to look like trains, brings them one step closer to passenger introduction in a few years’ time.”

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British Transport Police

Police want to speak with this man after a teenage girl was sexually assaulted on train to Llanelli

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British Transport Police have released a photo of a man they want to speak with after a teenage girl was reportedly sexually assaulted in a “prolonged” attack.

The attack took place on a Heart of Wales line train between Llandovery and Llanelli.

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A spokesperson from British Transport Police said: “At 4.40pm on Saturday 26 March, a teenage girl boarded the train and sat opposite a man on a table seat. The man then proceeded to sexually assault her.

“Officers believe the man in the image may have information which could help their investigation.

“If you recognise him, or have any information, please contact BTP by texting 61016 or calling 0800 40 50 40 quoting reference 538 of 26/03/22.

“Alternatively, you can call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.”

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Carmarthenshire

May timetable change sees increase in train services

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An increase in Transport for Wales (TfW) train services comes into effect in May reversing many pandemic cuts.

From Sunday 15 May, a new rail timetable will be in place across the Wales and Borders rail network.

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This will include the return of a number of services across North, Mid and West Wales that were removed from the timetable as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, providing a boost to capacity ahead of a summer tourist season.

The May-December timetable period is also expected to include the introduction of the first of TfW’s brand new trains.

The first new trains for the Wales and Borders network are planned to enter service on routes in North Wales and the Borders during the summer.

While the times of many services will be unaffected, TfW say customers should still ensure they double-check their departure, arrival and connection times.

Among the key changes are nine additional services each way per day along the North Wales Coast between Chester and Llandudno Junction, including the return of direct services between Llandudno and Manchester Airport, and six extra services each way between Swansea and West Wales.

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TfW is also reintroducing two additional return services between Aberystwyth and Shrewsbury, and along the Conwy Valley Line between Llandudno Junction and Blaenau Ffestiniog.

In Cardiff, TfW is restoring direct services between Coryton and Radyr, and the shuttle service between Cardiff Queen Street and Cardiff Bay will also return, reintroducing key connections within the city.

Colin Lea, Transport for Wales Planning and Performance Director, said: “We are introducing more services across our network and making adjustments elsewhere from 15 May. It’s really important for customers to check their journey details ahead of travelling.

“As we welcome more customers back to our services, some trains will be busier than they have been for a while, especially in the busy holiday periods. For those customers who wish to travel on quieter services, we recommend using our Capacity Checker tool.”

TfW say that South Wales Metro transformation works will continue to take place over the summer, including in evenings and at weekends when the network is quieter, so customers should always check before travelling to find out if their service is affected.

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(Lead image: Transport for Wales)

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British Transport Police

Life-saving defibrillators at train stations damaged

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British Transport Police are warning of the consequences of damaging defibrillators after a spate of vandalism at train stations across Wales.

Defibrillators, which are used to give a high energy electric shock to the heart of someone who is in cardiac arrest, were recently installed at several stations by Transport for Wales.

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Since their instillation, seven incidents of defibrillators being damaged or stolen have been reported in the last nine months at locations including Pencoed, Ninian Park, Briton Ferry, Sarn, Llandeilio and Llandudno.

British Transport Police Officers are patrolling stations and cameras have been installed to capture incidents and pursue prosecution against any offenders. Defibrillators have also been locked in cabinets to prevent theft or damage.

According to British Heart Foundation Cymru, there are around 2,800 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests in Wales each year, but just 1 in 20 people survive.

Every minute without cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and defibrillation reduces the chance of survival by up to 10 per cent, but immediate CPR and defibrillation can more than double the chances of survival.

British Transport Police Inspector Richard Powell said: “Lives are being put at risk by people who steal and vandalise defibrillators.

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“Offenders should think how they would feel if they themselves, or their relatives, were unable to be saved because of equipment being out of order due to vandalism or theft.

“If anyone witnesses anything suspicious on the railway, text us on 61016. In an emergency, always call 999.”

Karl Gilmore, Rail Infrastructure Director for Transport for Wales, said: “It is extremely disappointing that within weeks of the first phase of life-saving defibrillators being installed at TfW railway stations, a number have been vandalised and will now need to be repaired.

“The defibrillators are a vital tool for the whole community and this vandalism is putting people’s lives at risk.

“A cardiac arrest can happen to people of all ages and the use of a defibrillator can greatly increase someone’s chance of survival. It’s important the defibrillators are available in key locations, such as railway stations, and in good working order.

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“We ask anyone who sees a defibrillator being damaged to call the British Transport Police immediately.”

Tomos Hughes, a Public Access Defibrillator Support Officer at the Welsh Ambulance Service, explained: “Once somebody suffers a cardiac arrest every minute counts. They need immediate CPR from those around them as well as a shock from a defibrillator.

“It’s so disappointing to hear about devices which have been stolen or damaged, which is basically putting lives at risk. If you’re that vandal, imagine if it were a member of your family in cardiac arrest who needed that defibrillator – how would you feel if it wasn’t available? Don’t be that person. We would urge anyone with information to contact police.”

Adam Fletcher, Head of BHF Cymru, added: “Every second counts when someone has a cardiac arrest, and, alongside CPR, prompt use of a defibrillator is critical in giving them the best chance of survival. To put it simply – access to a defibrillator could be the difference between life and death, and anyone who vandalises a defibrillator is putting lives at risk.”

(Lead image: British Transport Police)

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